Brewlog 2 August 2010, Day 1, Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead

I’ve had the ingredients sitting around for what seems like eons.  While in active chemotherapy treatment, I wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol, and I’m sure my docs would have been extremely displeased with me playing with active yeast cultures while immunocompromised.  With those restrictions lifted, I decided to brew my first batch of post-cancer mead.  I haven’t liked any of the cheap commercial stuff available in my local liquor store, but I’ve liked all of the homebrewed recipes I’ve tasted, and I’ve tried one or two expensive meads I’ve liked.

I have seen “Joe’s Ancient Orange” mead recipe years back and it looked like it was pretty forgiving.  Being that my first batch was no good and it’s been a few years since I brewed it, I thought I’d start easy with cheap ingredients before I dove into my stockpiled good honey.

Here’s the recipe:

Quantities here are for a 1 gallon batch.

3.5 lbs honey (the cheap stuff will do)
1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller rind and all)
25 or so raisins, more or less
1 stick of cinnamon
2 whole cloves
pinch of allspice
pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of Fleishmann’s bread yeast (fresh…not the old stuff sitting in the cupboard for years)
water to one gallon

Joe's Ancient Orange Mead


Sanitize your equipment and your work area diligently. If you don’t know how to do this or you don’t know what equipment you need, you need to read up a little more and at least get yourself a meadmaking starter kit.

Joe's Ancient Orange Mead

Brew in a 1 gallon carboy.

Dissolve honey in some warm water and put in carboy.

Scrub the orange to remove any pesticides and undesirable beasties. Cut it into eighths and shove ’em into the carboy.

Put the rest of your ingredients in, then fill to just under the neck with cold water (leave enough room for foam to develop).

Cork the carboy and shake ‘er up to aerate your mix.

When the mix is at room temperature, dump in the yeast. You can mix it if you want…but you don’t have to.

Install your airlock and let ‘er go. Fresh yeast should start up within the hour. Mine was producing small amounts of CO2 within 10 minutes.

Let it be for about 2 months or so in a dark place (this is important, keep it away from light), until it clears on its own. This variety of yeast like it to be 70-80F, so you don’t need a cold basement or any of that. Once it clears, siphon the clear liquid off from the solids on the bottom and enjoy.

Joe's Ancient Orange Mead

At Day 1, my airlock is bubbling at a rate of about once per second. I see CO2 bubbles rising in the carboy and it’s about 78F. I did not bother to measure the initial specific gravity because the recipe is a “newbee” recipe and doesn’t ask for it.

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